Naked In Times Square To Promote Body Positivity

(NSFW – Strong nudity)

Your naked body by itself is sometimes weird upon observation, so imagine showing it to a bunch of strangers, for the sake of art?! Well, last Friday, I did just that. I participated in an art project that was both liberating and exhilarating!

If you were in the Times Square area that day, you might have seen my naked body. Thankfully, I was not alone. Along with more than 100 men + women, getting our bodies painted, as part of the free ‘BODY NOTES’ project aimed to promote body positivity. Considered ‘a powerful, positive visual feast’ by Cosmopolitan magazine, participants + on-lookers alike really enjoyed this event of using the naked body as a canvas to highlight different body types in bright colors. Much to my surprise + bewilderment, I found myself amongst their article photos, sporting my ‘resting bitch face’, as my friends often tease me, in all my blue naked glory.
Body Notes, Getty Images, Cosmopolitan, cause and yvette

(photo: GETTY | COSMOPOLITAN)

Inspired by the ‘Subway Therapy‘ art project comprised of post-its, creators Andy Golub, producer of NYC Bodypainting Day and Matthew Chavez, the street artist behind the subway project, thought it would be a great way for people to express themselves. And what better way than through their chosen words of affirmation and our bodies + that we did! But don’t you believe for a second, my decision to participate was an easy one to make.

Body Notes, public participants, cause and yvette

(photo: cause and yvette)

Building Up The Courage To Go Bare

Three weeks prior to the event, after seeing the ad with photos of past models, I became interested. I noticed the different statements across their torsos. And immediately, I thought,’what I would write across mine?’. The only quote that popped into my head was by Nina Simone. I had seen a late Sixties interview of hers. When asked what freedom meant to her, she replied, “I’ll tell you what Freedom means to me. No fear.”

Freedom = No Fear

No other words could capture part of my journey, better than those when it came to body positivity. But my artist didn’t think they would all fit on my ‘body note’. So, I compromised and shortened it to read ‘FREEDOM = NO FEAR” as seen above.

After receiving my email confirming my pre-registration, I replied if a thong was going to be provided? They replied, “No – It’s full nude but you’ll be in good company.” Now, I struggled with the idea of not doing it as I had a problem with being fully naked.  But, I kept thinking, “I need to step out of my comfort zone.” And as Andy told New York Daily News, “Everyone feels that being naked is such a big thing but in reality that’s just who we are,” adding, “When you experience this, it quickly becomes no big deal,” + indeed it wasn’t, as seen here in one of the newspaper’s photos.

Body Notes, Shannon Stapleton, Reuters, New York Daily News, cause and yvette

(photo: Shannon Stapleton, Reuters|NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Getting My Body Ready For The ‘World’

After agreeing with myself that I was going to do this, I knew that my body needed a little boost. You see, I had not been consistent with exercising and wanted to look my best. For the next three weeks, I worked out harder just to look a little better naked for the ‘big reveal’. But let’s face it, not much was going to drastically change overnight.

I have a five foot by five foot mirror in my living room. Every time I pass by it, I look at myself and my body. It doesn’t matter if I’m going to the kitchen or getting ready to go out.  I always sneak a peek, no matter what. So you can imagine my obsession during this time prior to my Times Square nakedness. Sometimes, I would even look into the mirror, with my back turned, bent forward, walking backwards to see how much cellulite was visible on the back of my thighs. Yeah, crazy, I know.

Having Latina Curves And High Fashion Taste

For me, the way my body looked was a major issue for most of my life. As a Dominican-American Latina, my weight was never an issue-the curvier the better. Growing up, having curves was something to celebrate especially in my family. I never saw a problem with how my body looked, no matter how big my hips, legs, cheeks or butt became.

Born and raised in New York City, one of the most fashionable cities in the world, my first glimpse of high fashion, ironically, was a variation of my first name – Yves. My love for high fashion was ignited by an early memory of a model in an Yves Saint Laurent pant suit, sans blouse. I don’t remember if it was in a movie or from a magazine, but it changed my life. From that moment on, I was hooked. Of course, you never would’ve guessed that after seeing half of my childhood pics. I was a late, late bloomer, with braces, wait for it, ‘head gear’, and glasses to add to my mystique.

Body Notes, public participants, cause and yvette

(photo: cause and yvette)

But Where Did My Curves Fit In High Fashion?

As I grew older and got more into fashion, my ideas of beauty and how my body fit into all that, changed and unfortunately, became distorted. I still wanted the curves, but, with the thinness of the models, I saw everywhere, caused me to question a disconnect. The thing is, when you have an hourglass figure, the way clothes hang on you is very different than how they hang on someone thin.

My body started to changing. My weight fluctuated through the years marked by the strategically placed stretch marks that ravaged my body. But that didn’t come as a surprise. Stretch marks are sometimes given birth by sporadic weight gain and weight loss. To make peace with my stretch marks, I dedicated a poem to them. After that, I started calling them ‘my friends’, as they became a part of me, making my body their home.

And I tell you this, when I was standing naked in Times Square, I didn’t care who was keeping count of how many I had or how dimpled my butt or thighs looked, especially when painted all blue, my color of choice. Wanting to channel Mystique from the X-Men, I chose blue for my body and yellow for my ‘body note’ square. The blue, however, turned out to be more Na’vi from Avatar, but, I still went for it. My paint job was complete and I was happy being blue. I was so in love with the blue and the experience, I rode the subway back home, still all blue, dressed in my clothes and navy shades (at least those matched).

Body Notes, Anthony Delmundo, New York Daily News, cause and yvette

(photo: Anthony Delmundo|NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

The Day To ‘Go Naked’ Arrives

That Friday, I methodically picked out an outfit that was easy to take off and put back on. I decided to wear Italian dance pants with a drawstring waist, a tee shirt and flip flops. I didn’t wear any makeup as I was going to be all blue in a few hours.

Once I arrived, in a body shaking with nerves,  I proceede to check myself in. All checked in, I made my way to the painting supplies table. There, I picked up my blue and yello paints, sponges, paintbrushes, and a towel to stand over.

I found a spot and laid down my towel. But as I looked around, I noticed something. Never have I’ve seen so many amateur photographers and phones held high at ten in the morning. That part was a bit unnerving. However, I wasn’t going to let that stop me to do what I came to do!

“Paint Your Genitals First!”

I first pulled down my pants revealing my thong underwear (usually all I wear). Then the tee came off, followed by my bra and underwear. Starting with my arms, I began dabbing blue paint on my body. Then I hear this event organizer yell out to paint our genitals first. A volunteer body painter eventually made her way to help me completely transform. And I’ll never forget how sweet she was.  If I needed something from the ground, she made sure to get it for me. Since I was naked, I had no business to bend for anything.

Orange, blue and yellow naked people surrounded me and by this point, I was all blue. All of these people were smiling because they were giving their pride of who they were a ‘voice’. ‘Body Notes’ like ‘INTROVERTS ARE AWESOME’ sweetened the car exhaust filled air. The traffic of cars stopped intermittently to catch a glimpse of all of our naked painted bodies. You couldn’t help but smile and enjoy the process of being part of something like this. As part of Amercian society, we all struggle with loving ourselves. But, as it’s so true what RuPaul says at the end of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’,

“If you can’t love yourself how in the hell you gonna be able to love someone else?”

If you could get your naked body painted, what would you have chosen as your ‘Body Note’ + why? I’d love to know in the comments. Paint me curious!

WANTED: Birds Print Pajama Robe By OFF-WHITE

As a lover of birds, silk pajama robes + all things OFF-WHITE c/o VIRGIL ABLOH, this piece is one to covet for life!

Besides the impressive colorful bird print in various sizes caught in mid-flight, against a black silk background, this long ‘OFF-WHITE Birds Print Pyjama Robe’ features the classic detail of contrast white piping throughout, a tie waist, a shawl collar + long sleeves. But it’s designer Virgil Abloh’s genius play of juxtapositions is what really makes this so good.

At first, what came to mind was the opulence of Japanese kimonos, often connected to luxury with a heavy price tag, like this one. But when stripped of its original silhouette + substituted for that of the relaxed yukata robe, its less expensive cousin, you have a winner. As usual, this is where Abloh’s genius use of juxtaposition hits high marks.

This robe sports an impressive assortment of colorful birds in various sizes caught in mid-flight, set against a black silk backdrop with contrasting white piping throughout, giving it that pajama feel. And if that weren’t enough, you have the word ‘WOMAN’ in all caps, embroidered across the top of the robe’s back. So what woman wouldn’t want to add this to her arsenal of fashion musts?!

For your very own ‘OFF-WHITE Birds Print Pyjama Robe’ head over to FARFETCH but quick, as they have very few left!

16 Hot Khaki Picks For Spring/Summer

*This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.

Khaki is a color that is both timeless + seasonless, but, for some reason or another, it tends to really jump out at you during the warmer months. Maybe it’s due in part, to the strong ties it shares with a wanderlust for roaming a boundless jungle or rainforest or maybe, swapping personas with that of a carefree nomad with a ‘zero f*ks’ mentality, that makes it a ‘go-to’ neutral for all genders.

Now if you’re afraid of resorting to a boring pair of khaki pants or even a khaki tee to be on trend, don’t worry, as I’ve picked a few key items below, courtesy of *Nordstrom, ranging from beauty to footwear.

What is particularly appealing about this Utility Miniskirt | SELF-PORTRAIT, is how the skirt looks like it was made from a deconstructed khaki trenchcoat, asymmetrical front buttons + the sweet hint of ruffled floral lace peeking in the front. With this piece, you also get to tap into this season’s lace trend.

1-An easy way to tap into a trending color is by just applying it to your nails, like No.204 Khaki | BURBERRY BEAUTY 2-If you have sinful plus-size curves, this Sexy Drape Midi Dress | CITY CHIC, is sure to turn up the heat 3-Floral embellishments can sometimes hurt a shoe’s look, but not in the case of the Lonicera Flower Sandal | JEFFREY CAMPBELL, involving textured khaki Suede flowers with a 4inch heel 4-A tan always looks best when capped off with the right hat like this khaki Safari Fedora | DORFMAN PACIFIC 5-Paint splatters are always fun especially when strategically placed on clothing as seen on these ‘Damiana’ Splatter Paint Stretch Woven Jogger Pants | PRPS, which play up the distressed ‘been in the art studio all day’ look brilliantly

6-This Boy Bowie Off the Shoulder Dress | ONE TEASPOON, shows off just enough leg to keep things interesting for brunch or that ‘first date’ you’ve been so looking forward to or dreading 7-Love this kilt silhouette adapted to this Tulle Skirt | JUNYA WATANABE, with a trio of belted canvas tabs accenting the waist, to give you that street style cred  8-Sometimes, all you need is just a hint of khaki like this Bold Sport Silicone Strap Watch, 43mm | MOVADO, with its black/khaki colorway, to make the right impact 9-In this flirty Crochet Cold Shoulder Top | CITY CHIC, plus size chicks are sure to gain more admirers 10-Tombre Slip-on| LACOSTE can easily become the best shoe for men to just chill, in breezy perforated suede

11-Cortez ’72 Sneaker | Nike, is one of this giant sneaker brand’s most comfortable shoe ever worn by yours truly + when you throw in its distinctively textured leather with this Summery pale gray, khaki + white colorway, you can’t miss 12-You’ll be a total rock star sporting these ‘Super Lunar – Arrowed by Karen’ 52mm Sunglasses | KAREN WALKER, with inset goldtone arrows wrapping your temples 13-Nothing screams comfort when it’s hot out like this mesh Fling 2 Sandal | JEFFREY CAMPBELL, sporting a loafer-inspired notched topline + an 1 ½ inch wedge platform 14-White sneakers might be all the rage but this Air Max 90 Ultra 2.0 Essential Sneaker | NIKE, with its pale gray, white + khaki colorway, have enough white on them to ‘up’ your game just enough while still staying true to your love for khaki 15-Give your look just enough edge with this Dark Khaki ‘Mini Kalifornia’ Leather Satchel | KENZO, with its signature hardware details + Kenzo’s killer logo

*Please note, this post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a commission when you click on a link to help monetize my blog. However, the opinions expressed herein are my own.❤️

Check Out Lana Del Rey’s ‘Lust For Life’ Video Ft. The Weeknd

With Lana Del Rey, you’re always promised moody, sweet + sultry vocals as heard here in her new music video for ‘Lust For Life’ featuring The Weeknd. ‘Lust For Life’, the title track of her new album, with no release date in sight yet, beautifully envelopes the listener in a soft whispered kiss of lyrics, sung by both Del Rey + The Weeknd.

Opening with Del Rey singing on set, the camera follows her heels with lace ruffled ankle socks, to the top of the “H” of the Hollywood sign, which is a literal take on her opening lyrics:

Climb up the H of the Hollywood sign, yeah
In these stolen moments
The world is mine (doo wop, doo wop)
There’s nobody here, just us together (shadoop, shadoop)
Keepin’ me hot like July forever

Here, Del Rey meets up with The Weeknd who serenades her with his sweet + sexy voice which compliments hers so well during their chorus. They slowly dance into the end, where she slides off the Hollywood “D”, landing in a floral field right next to him.

Here’s to crossing my fingers the remixes are that much better!

Enjoy!

(via pitchfork)

Top Ten Bird Picks To Fly Into Spring In Style

There’s no surprise I love birds, but these items here prove I’m not alone + in great company. Nothing screams Spring + Summer like the imagery of birds in an array of iterations from realistic prints, to illustrations + quirky motifs. Sure, feathers always make for a grand + dramatic statement, but they never come with a guarantee you won’t be leaving most of them behind after one wear. So for those of you not knowing where to begin in finding what bird or birds to wear, here are my top ten picks to help you fly into the warmer months ahead in style! (If none of these are to your liking, at least they’ll give you an idea of how to incorporate our feathery friends into your already fabulously stylish life.)

1-ANN DEMEULEMEESTER Flying Bird Print T-Shirt | farfetch: is dramatic in all black with the white silhouette of birds in flight. 2-AU JOUR LE JOUR Bird Print Dress | farfetch: is adorable with its light turquoise background covered in a whimsical bird illustration. 3-ATELIER 2.2 SWIMWEAR Birds Of Paradise | tictail: is a triangle bikini with a realistic print of bold colored birds in their surroundings. 4-PHILIPPE MODEL Bird Print Sneakers | farfetch: highlights hummingbirds with glitter + pastel pink, with a red center sole accent, on a classic running style sneaker for chicks. 5-THE CASE FACTORY Lizard Effect iPhone 7 Case | NET-A-PORTER: with its print of birds + lush leaves will make people take notice every time you’re on your phone.

 

6-J.W.ANDERSON Hammered Gold-Plated Earring | NET-A-PORTER: adds drama to any look from his SS/17 collection. 7-ASOS Loafers With All Over Burgundy Bird Print: will add interest to any outfit with beautiful Japanese influenced design of cranes + florals. 8-N°21 Knotted Satin Clutch W/Bird Appliqué | LUISAVIAROMA: the knot detail on this golden satin clutch with silver bird appliqué is sure to work its magic for every occasion. 9-MARA HOFFMAN Bird Print Triangle Bikini | asos: another triangle bikini to turn heads but this time in bright light blue covered in contrasting colored bird illustrations. 10-PHILIPPE MODEL Toucan Bird Print Sneakers | farfetch: with blue accents, here are another pair of MODEL kicks, but this time with toucans on a camouflage all-over print of this classic running style shoe.

How To Build Your Wardrobe Around Snacks

For the most part, a lot of us take different cues on how to build a look, no matter the occasion. Some might start with a pair of shoes + work their way up while others might have a huge pair of bright statement earrings or a cool hat, ready to set the stage for their Friday’s persona. But ever stop + wonder what it would be like to center your wardrobe around your snacks? No, really. And sure, with your unicorn everything polluting all of Instagram (although I adore unicorns), with its latest addition being the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, this task could seem an easy one to pull off. What if you were then asked to work your look around an oyster? Yes, an oyster! (That’s no typo.) Thankfully, through the genius of two fiendishly creative collaborators, a photographic series does exactly just that + more!

Called the ‘Wardrobe Snacks’ series, photographer Kelsey Mclellan reappropriates food by making it a fashionable accessory that sets the tone for her subject’s monochromatic looks. Makes you wonder if that time you stuck that Twizzler in your pocket, sticking out ‘just so’, didn’t add that extra something to your outfit? And with the collaborative efforts of prop stylist Michelle Maguire, these beautiful images are elevated to an ingenious + brill level that will have them intruding your thoughts every time you decide to stash away your snacks for later. By taking monochrome wardrobe looks + pairing them with same color food items, you’re left with a slight smirk, while gazing at each image. Who could’ve thought a gray wool blazer over a sheer gray long sleeve blouse would look so great when holding an oyster?

An all-pink pantsuit is best worn when snacking on pink wafers of course while a deep purple blazer with burgundy pants is the only way to dress when eating Grippo’s Sweet Maui Onion potato chips in a metallic purple bag.

While most of our snacks, not always healthy ones, no matter how many times we publically boast about our healthy lifestyles, still make for great accessories. I for one think Mclellan + Maguire might be onto something in the Tater Tot as the new pocket square kerchief alternative as seen here, but according to Format magazine, that infamous Tater Tot scene in film ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ could be the real suspect.

And why wear any of the ever popular pizza emblazoned clothing items when you can just eat a slice, dressed in Tomato sauce red?

This photographic series will make you rethink “What should I wear out?” + replace it with “What am I eating while out?”,  when choosing your next outfit!

(via FORMAT)

15 Pink Pieces Perfect For Spring

Pink is one of Spring’s trends you can embrace especially with so many variations of this color. But really, when ISN’T pink a trend during this season?! Either way, whether going ‘full on’ pink, from head-to-toe or just adding a hint here + there, just do it! But if you don’t know where to begin, here are a few selections sure to compliment any wardrobe while not setting your credit cards ablaze with debt!

1-Pink Stripe Pearl Cuff Shirt would look great with anything, thanks to its pearl detail, PIXIE MARKET 2-Bauble Bar’s ‘Piñata’ Tassel Earrings would score you high marks when paired with your look, NORDSTROM 3-QUAY Capricorn Black And Pink Mirrored Sunglasses would outshine the best dressed anywhere with its bright pink lenses, LULUS 4-USB Leather Tassel Keychain + Charging Cord makes charging your mobile devices a lot more stylish, URBAN OUTFITTERS 5-Satin Rose Hat Pink with its embroidered red rose + the word ‘BODEGA’ is great for last minute brunch, BODEGA

6-Pan & The Dream’s Pink Tulle Socks are sure to add interest to any shoe you pair them with, NEED SUPPLY CO. 7– Nylon Jacket in gorge bright pink with its modern silhouette could easily make its way to the gym or into the night for hitting your favorite afters haunt, H&M 8-Ray Ban’s Oversized Round Pink Sunglasses are sure to spike any look with that Seventies vibe, asos 9-Ruffle Crepe Midi Skirt would look hot with any top thanks to its flirty front ruffle, TOPSHOP 10-POLAROID SWEATSHIRT is sure to add guaranteed appeal to your office look over a button down + or contrasting long sleeved tee, ZARA

11-LILY’s Pastel Pink Leather Backpack is just great with its simple design, silhouette + hand-embroidered fine details, TICTAIL 12-Pink ‘Sicily’ Platform Sandals add just enough pink for the office or a night out, DOROTHY PERKINS 13-CARVEN’s SHORT-SLEEVE TOP with a light watercolor-pink print + fluttery sleeves make it a ‘must cop’ for Spring, ANN MASHBURN 14-PEARL DETAIL CLASP CROSSBODY elevates this popular bag silhouette with a branded pearl detail clasp, CHARLES KEITH 15-Glacial Threader Earrings are handcrafted with organic pink colored glass drops, ANTHROPOLOGIE

 

 

Happy Birthday Nina Simone

In remembrance of Nina Simone’s birthday, here’s a clip of a live 1968 recording session in Paris performing ‘ The Other Woman’, one of my favorite songs from her vast catalog of treasures.  With lyrics:

But the other woman will always cry herself to sleep
The other woman will never have his love to keep
And as the years go by the other woman
Will spend her life alone
Alone
Alone

how can you not love this song, then again, how can’t your heart not break for ‘the other woman’ in this scenario? Devoid of any self-worth, this poor woman puts all her validation in the presence of this borrowed man as without him she ceases to breathe or even exist. Loves such as these, although toxic + one-sided, as the man is getting the better end of their arrangement, make for great songs of heartache, especially with Nina’s velvety voice, kindly whispering her lyrics into this ‘other woman’s’ ears as a guardian angel, hoping she takes heed of this poison + walks away, but the grip of her love for this man is by far stronger.

Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Nina!